• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain the ethical responses to abortion

Extracts from this document...


Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Explain the ethical responses to abortion I will be explain how a balance of absolutist and relativist ethical theories would respond to abortion. Relativist theories such as Utilitarianism and situation ethics allow abortion in some circumstances. Whereas Kantian ethics and Natural Law are absolute and say abortion is wrong in any circumstance. Bentham?s Act Utilitarianism is teleological and would look at how much pleasure would result from a woman having an abortion. Bentham would measure the pleasure with his Hedonic Calculus. If the pleasure outweighs the pain, then an abortion would be acceptable. For Mill, individual sovereign was important, meaning a person has the right over their own body. He was a weak Rule Utilitarianism. ...read more.


In some situations Fletcher may say that although murder is wrong, sometimes we must look past laws in order to do what is right. Therefore in some situations we need abortion because it can be the most loving thing to do. For example, it is loving to offer an abortion to a rape victim. Kantian ethics is deontological and absolute. Firstly Kant would ask whether the maxim of abortion can be universal. The universal law ?everybody should have an abortion? is contradictory because the human race would not exist if this existed. However if we universalise ?everyone who has been raped should have an abortion? it does not contradict itself. Nevertheless, it is a contradiction of the will because the maker of the maxim may have been conceived through rape themselves. ...read more.


The absolute secondary precept of this is that abortion is wrong. In an ectopic pregnancy where the foetus grows in the woman?s fallopian tube, if the pregnancy is carried on both the mother and foetus will die. In this situation, a follower of Natural law would still say abortion is wrong, even though it would save the mother?s life and ensure she could conceive in the future. However, removing the ovary with the side effect of killing the foetus but saving the mother would not be considered wrong. This is called the doctrine of double effect, the act itself is not evil but there is an unintended side effect. In conclusion, Natural law and Kantian ethics condemn abortion. It cannot be universalised and it goes against the primary precept of preserving life. Whereas Utilitarianism and Situation ethics allows abortion where is would bring around pleasure and if it is the most loving thing to do. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. Utilitarianism VS Kantian Deontological Ethics

    This is summarised in Kant's quote: "There is only one good thing and that is a good will" Kant also proposed a 'categorical imperative' which asserted whether a moral action is good or bad. Kant defined an imperative as any proposition that declares a certain kind of action (or inaction)

  2. The Ethical Debate Concerning Cloning.

    There are those who are willing to let science continue its search for knowledge and mastery over mankind. There are others, often those sharing religious views, who maintain that cloning is man "playing God," and still others are inclined to feelings or revulsion or disgust at the mention of cloning.

  1. `Always tell the truth and Always keep your promises' Kant's Categorical Imperative.

    not keeping his promise, the promise itself would become impossible, as well as the end that one might have in view in it, since no one would consider that anything was promised to him, but would ridicule all such statements as vain pretences'.

  2. The founder of situation ethics, Joseph Fletcher felt that the individual should be of ...

    It provides an alternative Christian ethic that aligns with the Gospel representation of Jesus. Protestants in particular would favour situation ethics. Regardless of what has happed in the past, cases are judged on their own merit individually. For example a teenager may have committed the crime of theft in the

  1. Discussion of abortion

    'Love the Lord your God with all your heart...love your neighbour as you love yourself.' (Luke 10:27) This tells us to respect others. Also in the Old Testament it tells us to protect and respect life. 'Thou shall not kill.'

  2. is abortion justified to save the mother's life

    Physical health could be at risk in cases of eptopic pregnancies, or cancer of the uterus etc, in which circumstances abortion may be the only way o save the mothers life. This is directly agreeing with the claim. A mother's mental health might be the justification of an abortion, if

  1. How are religious and ethical principles used in the abortion debate?

    However, in exceptional circumstances, the situation might demand a different, loving response. Abortion would be an exception in extreme circumstances, as opposed to a method of birth control. For instance, in the case from 2009 of a 9 year old Brazilian girl who was raped and subsequently fell pregnant with

  2. Abortion and Personhood. Explain how the concept of personhood applies to abortion.

    Also, it could be at some stage during development. Various stages have been suggested, such as from the moment a mother can feel foetal movement, or the stage at which the foetus can feel pain, or the moment when the foetus can survive outside the womb, or the moment when the soul enters the foetus.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work